This parody blogpost was written on June 4th 2018
Last week it emerged that Lord Lawson, who chaired the Vote leave campaign, has applied for a residency permit in France to allow him to continue to live there after Brexit.
We have received, anonymously, the following pages from the diary of another British Lord who also lives in France. We publish them in the hope of offering an insight into the many problems facing these latter day, beleaguered Brexit migrants.
Had lunch at our local restaurant, La Folie des Anglais. The chefs, Michael and Sabine, had prepared a special menu in my honour which they called Brexit: A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Michael explains that it is nouvelle cuisine, but with a traditionalist twist.
Starters were a choice between Paté A Les Kippers or Consommé David Davis.
I had the pate. It promised a lot but really delivered little. Quite a disappointment. Madame had the Consommé David Davis. It looked appealing but turned out to be thin and lacking substance. All froth and no broth. Chef apologised, said he had used a new, untested technology to make it. Probably needed a few more years’ work for it to all come together. At least twenty, I snorted. Still, I could see how it could tempt those who pretend to understand food but really don’t.
Our fish course was Dover Sole En Retard. It comes with a forty-minute wait. He said it was symbolic of the truck tailbacks at Dover after Brexit. The French are too philosophical. Jean-Paul Sartre has a lot to answer for. We British just get on with it. We may not know what it is and what it does, but by God we still get on with “it”.
For the plat principal we had Argentinian beef a le Boris. The chef explained that he was inspired by the recent trip of Boris Johnson to South America. The beef was thin, very thin. So thin in fact that you hardly noticed it on the plate. A bit like a South American trade deal, says Chef. It is garnished with a few little flecks of sunflower petals, meant to symbolise the gold that lies waiting for the UK in South America once we were free of the European yoke. Délicieuse. But not really filling. Give me a Lancashire hotpot any day.
Our pudding, or desert as the French insist on calling it, was Tour D’Or A Le Trump A Le Façon De Libre Exchange. When it arrived, it looks beguiling, a “great, big beautiful desert”, but fail to eat it within five minutes and its crumbles to nothing on the plate and you have to reorder.
Sabine said it was a new trend, sunset clause desserts. Not something that would ever work if you were negotiating a trade deal. Who would want to have to renegotiate every five years? Trump will see us English right. Not sure about the Scots, though.
Instead of the café or expresso I decide to order something as traditional and proudly British as the bulldog or the Windsors, some tea. Certainly, says Sabine – would you prefer Indian or China? No Tetleys, if you have it, I answered. It comes from Yorkshire, you know.
As we left, I could not help but think that the chefs, Michael and Sabine, were trying to tell me something with their menu construction. A formidable couple who know what they are doing. I am just glad that they are not negotiating Brexit on behalf of the EU.
Went to the local mayor’s office to apply for my carte de séjour. If the ornate sign over the door is to be believed the mayor is a woman called Marie. A bit informal, I thought, just her first name. Typically French though. It is sad when even the senior officials have no regard for their proper titles.
Though I was impressed by the fact that they decked out the Town Hall in red, white and blue to welcome me (how did they know I was coming?), the experience did not start well. My Hungarian driver, Istvan, had difficulty finding a parking place for the Rolls. No priority parking spaces for Lords, it appears. Nor were there priority lines for people of my esteemed status.
I was obliged to wait alongside about twenty other British ex-pat pensioners, each holding piles of files and paperwork. They seem less than pleased to see me. I can’t understand why. After all, have I not give them back control of the UK?
After an age, it came my turn. Instead of the mayor herself, I had to deal with a minor fonctionnaire who looked at my papers and told me they were unacceptable. French law no longer recognises the category “Lord”, she said, not since Robespierre’s big cuts, she added, chuckling to herself. Austerity a la française, I suspect.
I asked her if she did not know who I was. She said she knew well. I was one of the people who campaigned to take the UK out of the EU but now wanted to live in France. I tried to explain to her that I wanted to leave the EU but not Europe which is why I wanted to live in France. She looked at me with what I can only describe as Gallic disdain and said: Monsieur, for France the EU is Europe. There is no other Europe.
I have to go home and fill out the papers again as plain Mister. This is just intolerable. Why can’t the French just be like the British?
Finished filling out the paper for the carte. Again. So much red tape. Thank God the UK will have no such red tape after Brexit. As I look back at the UK from France I can see just how much EU regulations are choking the country.
Totally unacceptable that EU legislation requires that people be paid for holidays. In the old days, there was never even an entitlement to holidays, never mind be paid for them. Let me ask you a question. What have EU employment laws ever done for the UK?
Problems today at Chateau Le Brexit with the water. The Polish plumber, Szymon, is coming around at 11:00h. These lads are always so punctual and reliable. I am very glad that Conservative governments, of which I was a part, pushed for these ex-Communist countries to join the EU. These Polish people are free to come and go here in France which I find wonderful. But free movement to the UK is something that Brexit will put an end to. Quite properly. We have enough nurses and doctors as it is.
No wonder we are leaving the EU. Szymon turned up, on time, at 11:00 and had the water problem solved tout suite. Then he informs me, that due to some new EU law on Posted Workers, he is now entitled to be paid the same as a French plumber. An extra 8€ an hour, if you please plus travel time!
Nanny never earned that. Does he not know how little he was paid under Communism? Does he not know that I am one of those who liberated him? This is the gratitude I am shown. More meddling from Brussels.
Only for Brexit, I would be tempted to go back and live in the UK.
This is outrageous. I have received a letter from the French Ministry of the Interior telling me that it has been informed that I have applied for a carte de séjour but wants me to be aware that while this carte might allow me to stay in France, subject to the terms of the Brexit agreement, it would not entitlement me to travel elsewhere in Europe unless an agreement on such travel was put in place between the UK and all 27 EU countries.
Outrageous. Do these people not know that the British aristocracy has being doing the grand tour of Europe for centuries? Thanks to us the people of Europe have had the opportunity to view such priceless treasures as the Greek Elgin marbles. All they have to do is travel to London. Singlehanded, we have saved European civilization again and again. It was not for nothing that the Light Brigade charged.
Does this mean I will miss Tuscany in August, and Nigella’s cooking, filmed for the BBC? Brussel must understand that when we said that we wanted to end free movement we meant free movement for working people travelling IN to the UK to work in the NHS, cafes, hotels and factories. We never meant it to mean that the right of good people like us to travel OUT across Europe would be curtailed. I shall be taking this matter up directly with Theresa. God, what a wishy-washy woman. But needs must.
Had to travel back to the UK to do a TV program on the benefits of Brexit. Difficult to describe exactly what the benefits will be, but by God, England will be walking tall again. So tall, I will be able to see it from France.
Again, no priority lane at the airport for VIPs like myself. Still, did not have to show my passport. Noticed how long the queue for non-EU people was. Another minor fonctionnaire smirked at me and said I would be soon in that queue. But at least I will have my Blue Brexit passport to keep me warm on the long and winding queues.
Can’t these Europeans get it into their heads that even after we leave the EU everything will still be the same for us British? We just don’t want these busybodies from the European Court interfering in our laws. And we want to do our own trade deals and keep our own money. After that, everything can stay the same.
I can never understand why the EU keeps banging on about rules. If only the EU would apply good, old-fashioned British common sense to the issue all could be solved quicker than it takes me to pour a gin and tonic.
Meet Nigel for lunch in London. No, not that Nigel from the Lords, father of the woman who cooks on television in Tuscany, the other Nigel, the UKIP chappie who can never get into Westminster, though he says his new friends in the DUP may help him make it into the Lords.
The man is completely misunderstood. He is as straight as an Australian cricket player. Not a cheating bone in his body.
He told me that he has always made it clear in the run-up to the referendum that the UK would not be better off after Brexit. In fact, people might take a hit to the pound in their pocket. They might well be poorer, considerably poorer. But they would be proud and poor, rather than rich and in thrall to Brussels. There was a price to be paid to be free-born Englishmen and he was very happy for other people to pay that price. He had deals with US TV.
Over coffee and cognac, he mentioned that he had managed to secure German passports for some of his children, just in case. In a way, reminded me of Blofeld in the James Bond movie who always had an escape pod to hand, so he could save his own skin when his dastardly plans for world domination failed.
Just as well the Remoaners do not have a James Bond on their side. Not sure what role Corbyn would play in a Bond movie. Minor sidekick to the leading villain?
Can this week get any worse? Got back to my chateau in France late last night. More indignity in there being no VIP lanes. Soon as I got back I sent an email to Macron demanding the provision of priority lanes at airports and at the Eurotunnel for people such as myself after Brexit. Reminded him who has liberated France from the German in 1944. Went on Amazon and order a copy of Dunkerque to be sent to the Élysée Palace. That will show the little man how we English are not to be pushed around.
Having sent the email to Macron I open my post as I was sipping a glass of Chateau Margaux 2015, an exceptional vintage. To say I nearly wasted every valuable drop would be an understatement. Apparently, after Brexit, my UK driving licence will no longer entitle me to drive in France, or elsewhere in Europe.
The letter from the Ministry tells me that shall have to undergo a French driving test. Not just practical, but also a written theory test. Theory! What do I know about Foucault, Derrida or Deleuze?
We British don’t do theory or thinking. We just push on. Look at how we have handled Article 50. We didn’t waste time “doing theory” before we sent it to Brussels.
To regain my still upper lip, I poured myself another glass. This time I almost dropped the glass as I read the second letter. After Brexit, I would no longer be cover by the European Health Insurance Card (EIHC). Almost dropped the glass, until I remembered that I could afford private health insurance. No problem then.
But I suppose that might be a problem for the millions of British pensioners in Spain. Maybe they should have thought of that before moving there. But as Charles Moore put it in the Spectator (here) we are engaged in an anti-imperialist struggle and, as in any battle for freedom from imperial domination, there will be casualties.
We Brexiteers are the spiritual heirs of Franz Fanon, exposing the economic and psychological degradation of the British people by Brussels imperialism. We are the new wretched of the earth and the chateau.
As I opened the second bottle of Margaux, I thought to myself: yes, Fanon was right. What was that song he wrote: We shall overcome, as you stand by me. Lovely song at the wedding of Prince Harry of Aquitaine, as I like to call him, to that Canadian TV actress, Angela Merkel.
You see, the French don’t know this but after Brexit we shall be reasserting our historic right to all the Norman lands in France and Ireland. That will solve all the border problems.
As Baldrick would have put it: we do indeed have a cunning plan.
I may have to rethink living in France after all. I have had another letter from the Ministry. Seems after Brexit the passports of Winnie and Maggie, my two bulldogs, may be revoked. The referendum was about limiting free movement for European chappies, not British dogs and cats.
In fact, I may have to reconsider my support for Brexit. Economic damage, non-existent trade deals, lack of people to work in hospitals and hotels are a price well worth paying to escape from Brussels tyranny. But a chap has to draw the line when it comes to his dogs. Can’t have Jonny Foreigner getting between a man and his dogs.
Make a call to La Folie. Time for another lunch with Michael and Sabine.